Archaeological Park, Poggibonsi
The visit starts with a short documentary film that illustrates the results of twelve years of excavation
Since 1993 the site has been the object of investigations carried out by the 'Area of Mediaeval Archaeology' of the University of Siena which have documented a presence on this site that goes from the V to XV centuries. Each area is equipped with computers to accompany the visitor through the history of the archaeological investigations and the reconstruction of the chronological development of the settlement area. The first room focuses on the development of the site in the preceding phases with aerial photographs showing the morphological and topographical features of the site compared to the built-up area of today.
Panels illustrate the evolution of the area from the late-ancient settlements of houses made of earth, to the development of a village of huts of the Longobard era and the formation of the "curtis", name given to an area of land and property with its feudal economic system of the Carolingian period. In the centre of the room a relief model represents the portion of "curtis" found in the excavation, corresponding to the 'pars dominica', or the part belonging to the master, the 'longhouse', the raised barn or granary and other annexes.
The second room is dedicated to the late-mediaeval phases and history of the city of Poggio Bonizio, with some panels illustrating the topographical and urbanistic features of the period in which the castle of Podium Bonizii was founded, dating back to 1155, while others show details of the characteristic houses in rows overlooking the Via Francigena and of the building site of the large church of Sant'Agnese. The third room shows the more recent phases of settlement on the hill, following the destruction caused by the Florentines in 1270. In 1313 Arrigo VII rebuilt the city-walls, the drainage system and erected new buildings on the ruins of the old ones. In the following period there are the building sites of the fortress by order of Lorenzo de' Medici and of the highest part of the castle.
In the fourth room a selection of archaeological findings is on display, providing insight into the furnishings of the areas excavated, as well as the agricultural and manufacturing activities. Pieces of pottery, coins, glass and metal pieces, fragments of animal bones, parts of games, necklaces, counterweights for looms etc., constituting a significant indication of the economic and social history of the settlement in its various phases. The rooms in the north-west bastion house two museum displays, one on the evolution of the Renaissance architecture of defensive works, following the introduction of gunpowder, and the other on material from the excavation such as osteological findings and ceramics.